Scientists at Durham University are using a £950,000 NERC grant to find out when and where dogs first became domesticated. They are examining bones of wolves and dogs.
The earliest conclusive evidence showed dogs have been pets for about 14,000 years, but theories now suggest it could have been for as long as 35,000 years.
"Just about everything associated with domestication is really about the beginnings of farming. Except dogs.
"Dogs were domesticated by hunter-gatherers at least 3,000-5,000 years before agriculture and possibly tens of thousands of years earlier."
The three year project starts in October.
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Kerrie brings you Sunday night's forecast
Clear weather develops overnight into Monday. Cold days and frosty nights. Mainly dry inland - but a wintry risk continuing in the east
Icy first thing and windy, with wintry showers lingering further south, especially at the coast. Brighter elsehwere